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Collins Bird Guide Hardcover – 29 Sep 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 537 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 29 Sep 2011
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; Large Format Second edition edition (29 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000744902X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007449026
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 3.2 x 31.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“The combination of definitive text, up-to-date distribution maps and superb illustrations, all in a single volume, makes this book the ultimate field guide, essential on every bookshelf and birdwatching trip.” The Birdbooker Report

From the Publisher

Reviews of the prize winning field guide
Winner of the British Birds/British Trust for Ornithology Bird Book of the Year and Birdwatch Book of the Year

our standard guide for many years to come - BBC Wildlife

As essential as binoculars - New Scientist

it really is a very good book - RSPB Birds

The richest and most comprehensive of the current guides - The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you looking for a guide to help identify the birds you will see in Britain or Western Europe this is it.
***Buy this book before you consider buying any other bird guide***
Why?
Firstly you should never buy a bird guide that uses just photographs to show the birds. Take my word for it they will never in one photograph be able to show perfectly every feature required for correct id or capture colour variations accurately. The illustrations in this book show every detail perfectly, highlighting the relevant features, showing similar species together, covering male/female/juvenile plumages where necessary and importantly in accurate colour.
2, The descriptions are superb, every distinguishing plumage or vocal detail covered, telling you exactly what you need to know.
3, Useful detail is given about the status of the species, whether it is resident, a migratory visitor or a rare vagrant.
4, Maps showing likely range of each bird are shown, including colour detail that shows whether it is likely to be present all-year, winter or summer.
In summary this is a monumental effort by the authors to create the perfect bird guide in book form. As the owner of dozens of bird guides, I can say this is as close as I have seen.
I repeat, you should buy this before buying any other Bird Guide.
A copy of this book and a good audio guide to songs and calls is all you should need to identify the vast majority of birds you will see in the area covered by it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book emerged onto a highly competitive market already burgeoning with numerous field guides, most by renowned authors and many having benefitted from improvement over several editions. Quite simply though, this book won instant recognition as the best field guide available for Europe - and perhaps a model for field guides everywhere. Its authors are well known experts in their field having spent many years studying and publishing on the birds of the region. However, the key to the guide's success is the fact that so much more useful information has been condensed into a guide which is much the same size as existing books. The book boasts excellent illustrations, succinct text and handy maps, all presented on a the same page. Small enough to fit into a pocket and cheap, it is a must for anyone even remotely interested in British or European birds. Don't hesitate!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book on recommendation from this website.
It is an excellent guide, the drawings are first class.
I am only a part time bird watcher mainly from my kitchen window and the occasional walk in the local wood.
But this book has been invaluable to me.
Buy it you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Put purely and simply, this is the best bird identification guide I have ancountered. I have many different ones and they all have their charms but for a truly amazing, comprehensive and detailed list of all the birds of Britain and Europe, this wins hands down. The illustrations are beautiful, and incredibly accurate, with details of all plumages (summer/winter/adult/sub-adult/juvenile), and details of sub-species. General behaviour, physical description, and calls and songs are all detailed superbly. I haven't even had this book for 24 hours yet and already I love it - that says quite alot, I think!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In short - if you want an identification guide to European birds this is easily the best available to date.

On the cover it says 'The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe' and (at least at the present time) this is certainly true. The book is a little large to fit in most pockets - but all birdwatchers should be encouraged to carry a field notebook anyway (leave this book in the car, or at home or your hotel!) - if you do want to carry a guide with you it will fit in some large coat pockets, or easily into a backpack.

The illustrations, which are on the page facing the text and maps for each species, are excellent and show the birds in a variety of different positions (often including in flight), and illustrate all of the different plumages that are likely to be encountered. Important features are highlighted on the ilustrations by means of text captions and pointers.

The text is concise and contains all the most important information on identification and size, including verbal descriptions of songs and calls (often calls confirm an otherwise uncertain bird identification). Anyone who is not used to bird guides, and the birds themselves, will probably find that the phonetics mean very little - however if you have already heard the species being described they form an accurate reminder.

Anyone who uses a PDA may wish to consider the e-guide version, which has all the ilustrations and information from the book + recordings of the birds songs and calls - personally I find a book and CD (or MP3 files) easier!!
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Format: Paperback
Much attention and comment has been focused on this book since its original publication in hardback, and deservedly so. As stated in The Times review, it most probably is 'the richest and most comprehensive of the current guides'. Just holding the book and looking at the cover, you get the impression that the publishers had every confidence that this book would sweep away the competition, and wanted to display it that way. The front design is striking - jet black, with bold, shining, gold and white upper-case text - 'BIRD GUIDE' - the image of a barn owl on silent wings and the proclamation of 'the most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe' adding to the effect. The book seems to scowl 'Buy me, I'm brilliant and I'm the best!'. Clever, yet the appearance is strangely unwelcoming and almost intimidating.
Does it live up to the hype? The earlier 'Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe' with Bertel Brunn is a landmark, a classic book that had everything right - perfect illustrations, clear and unambiguous descriptions. Has this continued in that vein? Well, yes and no. By-and-large, the contents are excellent. Extraordinary works of art show the appearance of each species, immaculate, stunning and intimate in their detail. This, coupled with perfectly clear and in-depth descriptions of form, plumage, song and flight, provides a wonderful guide to the identification of even the most easily confused species. For the size of the book, everything has had to be crammed in, and the visual 'feel' is of slight overcrowding - but this is unavoidable if you want a book this informative and descriptive for field use. The major fault is that for some species, some distribution maps contain inaccuracies.
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